Thursday, January 06, 2011

New Cross House/Goldsmiths Tavern: some historical notes


The Goldsmiths Tavern in New Cross has been acquired by Capital Pub Company, which owns another 31 pubs in London, including both The Actress and The Bishop in East Dulwich. Contracts have been exchanged with completion due next month, followed by refurbishment and reopening around Easter. With pubs closing all over the place it's a relief that there will continue to be a pub here. Capital's other pubs seem to have a good reputation with beer lovers and while there will be a strong emphasis on food my impression is that it will be at the more affordable end of 'Gastro' rather than a full on restaurant masquerading as a pub. Interestingly, according to Hollow Legs, they intend to rename it as the New Cross House (see also discussion at Brockley Central). Those who remember various Goldsmiths Tavern golden ages may baulk at this but actually the New Cross House was its original name, as you can see from the top of the current building. And rather than the pub taking its name from the area, the area actually seems to have taken the name from the pub.


According to Christopher Hibbert and Ben Weinreb's London Encyclopedia, New Cross 'takes its name from an old hostelry and coaching house bearing the sign on the Golden Cross, which was famous for centuries'. Presumably at some point this pub must have been replaced with a new building, hence 'New Cross'. The diarist John Evelyn, who lived in Deptford, wrote in 1675 that he met a friend at 'New Crosse' in his coach before travelling down through Kent and on to France.
Darriel Spurgeon states in his 'Discover Deptford and Lewisham' (1997) that the area 'is said to have taken its name from an old pub, New Cross House, 316 New Cross Road, now known as the Goldsmiths Tavern, the present building being of 1895'. Others have suggested that the New Cross Inn - opposite the New Cross House - is on the site of the original pub, but it seems that the New Cross House/Goldsmiths has the greater claim.

The New Cross House was on the border of Kent and Surrey and next to the original New Cross turnpike where travellers heading into London had to pay to continue on the road. The tollgate opened in the early 18th century and remained there until it was moved to the junction of the New Cross Road with Peckham Lane (now Queens Road) in 1813 - near the present White Hart pub.

This picture shows the tollgate in 1783 - the New Cross House sign can be seen on the left:

This image from the excellent Ideal Homes website shows the New Cross House in 1856:


Like other pubs, the New Cross House was not just a place for eating and drinking but an important centre of social life. For instance, in 1871, the London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Servants' Benevolent Fund held its annual meeting 'at Mr Gordon's, the New Cross House, New Cross, on Wednesday evening, July 16'.

In the 1950s, the pub was associated with local gang the New Cross Boys and was smashed up in a battle with rival South London gangsters, as described in Brian McDonald's book Elephant Boys. Later things must have calmed down, because there seems to have been a folk club there in the early 1960s.

I am not sure at what point it changed name to the Goldsmiths Tavern, but when I first went there in the late 1980s (1988?) it was a gay pub. I recall dancing to Bronski Beat or something similar.

The Goldsmiths Tavern was where comedians Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer started their show ‘Vic Reeves Night Out’ in 1988 (they had first met in a Deptford bar called Winsons’, where Vic was performing his 'Variety Palladium'). Music for some of their New Cross nights was supplied by Eddi Reader and Mark Nevin, soon to have a hit record as ‘Fairground Attraction’. After Vic and Bob’s Thursday night shows became too big for the Goldsmiths, they moved to The Albany Empire and then on to TV.

Mixmaster Morris also ran a club called The Gift there.

In the 1990s the punky/squattty/alternative crowd that used to hang out in the Dewdrop Inn in New Cross gravitated to the Goldsmiths. I used to go there sometimes for techno nights, here's some notes I made in September 1997: 'From the outside it now looks like a squat, a badly painted sign reading 'GMT Lager Daleks', the front plastered with posters. There's music every night and a 2 am bar. The relevant poster read 'Dekode - Tekno Upload - Bangin' Acid Tekno Trance'. Inside anti-vivisection and anti-arms trade posters on the walls, stickers around the bar and in the toilets (Millwall Anti-Fascists, Anti-Fascist Action, Anti-Election) but even here there was some 'Princess Diana, dearly loved, sadly missed' graffiti in the gents - is there no refuge? At the back of the pub is a big room with a sound system, camouflage netting for that free party effect and the dancefloor. Beyond that is a yard outside, a South London drug den with loads of people smoking. Presumably the barbecue is to disguise the smell' (of cannabis). As well as techno/drum'n'bass nights, there were punk and ska gigs. The Inner Terrestials recorded their Escape from New Cross album there in July 1997 . It was also during this period that Gil Scott Heron played a gig in the pub, as recalled here. Local band The Cherry Reds had a song called Lager Daleks on their 2004 album Fairytale of New Cross.

Inevitably it was eventually closed down following a big police raid and re-opened in 2003 in its current incarnation, originally with an Italian restaurant upstairs. Lately there have been funky and r'n'b nights there, not sure how they have gone.

So now a new chapter is set to begin, but the story definitely isn't over...

If you have memories/photos/flyers of the Goldsmiths Tavern/New Cross House in its various incarnations let us know.



Update June 2011: see also The Goldsmiths Tavern Remembered

46 comments:

hilly said...

what a great story! i have particularly fond memories of the ska nights that ran there for at least 5 years from some time in the late 1990's. the dj, whose name escapes me, was a very likeable character who was much loved by the crowd, and on the rare occasions that fights broke out he would get down from the stage and settle things down!

Paco said...

There were a couple of Ska DJ's but the main one was was Fran, who was/is also the bassist in The Inner Terrestrials...

Tom said...

From a visit in the 1990s, it's the only pub I've ever been at where I've seen the barman throw someone out of the door horizontally. No-one else blinked.

hilly said...

i also quite liked the sound system in there, it had the bass speakers built into the stage and they shook the place to its foundations, so it was well suited to dance music, and they certainly had quite a lot of that. i vaguely recall that the liberator soundsystem dj's played there a few times when they were working their way up through the free party scene, they even tried some gabba acts out at one point, but that was thankfully short lived!

the drum and bass nights were quite funny too as they attracted the local youth in their sportswear, and at times they rubbed shoulders a bit awkwardly with the assorted hippies, crusties, punks, and bikers who also piled in, but the bizarre mix of the crowd was certainly part of the charm of the place...

Anonymous said...

I had many a great evening in the GMT over the years.. punk, hardcore, ska, reggae, dub, techno.. everything..in a way it was my dream pub.. such a diverse range of people hanging out together.. no real equivalent to the place now, although the Birds Nest in Deptford has its moments

Anonymous said...

I remeber when the sign GMT Lager Daleks was painted; i was staying upstairs at the pub at the time and was woken up by a noise outside the bedroom window at 4am I opended it to see very drunk men on a ladder armed with a paintbrush

dino said...

As a crusty art student from Goldsmith's in the 1990s I spent many a fine evening in various states of mental conflabulation at the GMT.

That old review brings back some memories, or rather highlights the gaps where memories should be!

Such memories, sampling Brendan's and Parsley's wares, biker bouncers and the pool table in the little bar you had to walk through the gents to get to.

It rather puts my current responsible state in perspective.

Fare thee well GMT and the Lager Daleks, you will be sadly missed.

Transpontine said...

@paco - good to hear from you. We should try and put together a list of bands who played at GMT. Other than your Inner Terrestials, I remember PAIN and Brain of Morbius, someone also told me they saw June Bridges there in the pre-lager daleks days. Who else people?

Transpontine said...

@hilly - yes pretty sure Chris Liberator played, the techno there was definitely at the bangin' London Acid Tekno/Stay up Forever end of the spectrum. Chris was also in anarcho-punk band Hagar the Womb some of whom lived in New Cross. Will come back to that at a future post.

hilly said...

hmmm, bands that played at the tavern, on the new cross side of things there's surely headjam, who chris (who was landlord for a bit) played bass for. it was actually chris who painted the lager daleks sign out of frustration as the old one had come off and the brewery had not arranged for a replacement!

Nigel said...

Myself and my wife managed the Goldsmiths Tavern from its reopening in September? 1995 until we left in October 1997 and had a great time whilst there. I can elaborate on most things during that period.

The Lager Daleks was a concept band dreamt up by our doorman Andy and myself. The idea was to stage a "reunion" gig; we verbally promoted an event and I think may even have had posters made, the Lager Dalek image of a Dalek "holding" a pint glass subtly appeared in numerous places. Our idea was to get people talking about the band as if they had seen them, pass on the word and others not to be out-done would also claim to have seen them. We had a pool of band members who could be available to gig, members of PAIN, Sham 69, RDF, UK Subs and myself plus several more were included in this group including Chris (on the ladder). Andy and I talked about some seriously funny and possibly controversial stage shows but unfortunately I left the pub before the reunion was staged.

Nigel said...

I would love to know who anonymous is as I clearly remember the night our address for bands to play at became GMT Lager Daleks. I was at the time gaffer taped to a chair in the 1st floor function room unable to move. When I eventually got free, the sign was already in place and I fully agreed with the reasoning behind it.

Nigel said...

In my living room I still have a photo of The Goldsmiths Taverns owner looking at the new GMT Lager Daleks pub signage just before I had to justify it's being there. He never asked us to paint over it but he was pretty pissed off.

Transpontine said...

Thanks Nigel.

So far on the gigs at GMT I have PAIN, Brain of Morbius, Gil Scott Heron, UK Subs (Feb 98), Headjam, Sunsnake, Inner Terrestials, Stratford Mercenaries (Jan 99).

On Songkick there's a list of some other gigs from the pre-Lager Daleks period, including the House of Love (June 1987), Dutch anarchos The Ex (June 86 - at the Gift club), The Prisoners and The Dentists (June 84), June Brides with Alternative TV (March 1984) and a No Nukes benefit with Test Department and Crown of Thorns (May 1982). Not a bad line up.

NickyD said...

I have absolutely no idea what bands I saw there. Not a 'king clue. I do remember a friend insisting on doing his dj set onstage and being hilariously baffled when the bins kept kicking the needle off the records.

hilly said...

another band that played there was the flying medallions.

Nigel said...

There were numerous bands that played at the Goldsmiths whilst Wendy and myself managed it between September 1995 and the end of October 1997. I will list as many as I can remember tonight and where possible add a coment:

Cowboy Killers (from Wales), Tofu Love Frogs, The Brain of Morbius, Riot/Clone (featuring Paco), Fear Of Fear (featuring Paco and John of Conflict and the lovely Sarah),Inner Terrestrials (Once again with Paco), The Cherry Reds, Parents of God, Medula Nocte, Labrat, Stigma, Iowaska, RDF, Ming Mang Mong (ex RDF), Headjam, Gil Scot Heron, Inner City Unit (ex Hawkwind), King Prawn, Celtic Bones (members of The Klingonz), Strychnine (USA, they had a ferry to catch at 8.00am Sunday morning to France for a tour so it was decided the designated driver would sleep whilst the band would drink with us through the night...they did!), Blanks 77 (USA, they were to tour with The Misfits, we provided the venue for the warm up gig. Their Tour Manager said she would put us on the guest list for the London gig the following weekend. We turned up and were surprised she had remembered following the copious amount of alcohol drunk at the Goldsmiths. it was a great gig), The Verukas, The Griswalds, Citizen Fish, Baby Teeth, The Stains, Oi Polloi, UK Subs, Sick on a Bus, The Stains, The Wernt (their Drummer Pinch went on and still plays for the Damned), Gil Scott Heron, P.A.I.N. (one gig featuring the notorious "Mr Nice" Howard Marks, we did have trouble keeping him from the weed whilst in the pub), Dub War, 53rd and 3rd (Ramones cover band).

Mitch from Hagar the Womb was regularly in the pub but I don't think I ever persuaded him to get Hagar to play).

I will update this as and when band names come to mind.

Nigel said...

Conflict , (they rehersed for an Anti St Patricks Day gig upstairs at bthe Goldsmiths, onthe day Colin was not able to perform so a number of vocalists took his place I remember Ozzy and Phil from P.A.I.N. helping out).

Nigel said...

In response to Tom, our doormen were the best and would gently carry out undesirables if necessary; they protected our guests from the more hostile elements of New Cross.

Our head doorman George who was nearly 7 foot tall would gently pick people up and place them outside the pub he/we were happy to allow the removed individuals back in the pub when they had changed their attitued a day or week later.

George left the pub before we did because his partner was pregnant and he felt working the door was a risk he could not take with a baby due. George went to work at the Amersham Arms to earn a few extra quid for Xmas; one evening he was stabbed by someone who should have been in prison and died from his injurys.

George our best and most gentle giant ex doorman, who looked after all at the Goldsmiths had been murdered.

parisite said...

Rubella Ballet!

parisite said...

TBAC, The Restarts?, Menace, Sensa Yuma, I remember these band playing....

Nigel said...

I would like to make a comment on the drugs allegedly taken in the Goldsmiths when Wendy and I managed it. We did not allow the use of any drugs in the pub or its courtyard; our bar staff or door staff would always escort offenders out of the pub!

The BBQ was provided as a cheap way of providing our guests with food, this was in line with the requirements of the Music and Dance Licence. I would like to add Lawrence and Julien provided the most wonderful caribean food anyone could wish for!

Nigel said...

Parisite, I know Sid and Zillah and dont remember them playing between 95 and 98, Perhaps after and I am quite pissed off I missed it!

Transpontine said...

A band called Screeming Custard played there in 1989 and got reviewed in Melody Maker

Transpontine said...

There was an article about GMT by someone called John Heathcote on a now vanished website Fantompowa (might have been the same guy who wrote the Smoke article)

'Perhaps this was the last legal venue in South East London where the local underground culture had any form of free expression. An open door policy which mixed home-counties students (from Goldsmiths College) with local ragamuffins, crusties, burnt-out bohos and various faces from the local cultural underworld.

Despite the paucity of the surroundings (which most people are too caned to notice), the Tavern - as it is popularly known amongst the drinking circles of New Cross - has been the meeting-place for many different parts of the local community, permanent and temporary, for many years.

With a license to carry on rocking until 2.00 am every night except Sunday, and entry free on the door, the place rarely fills up until 11.30 most nights, but within an hour is often changed from it's previously bleak emptiness to a heaving mass of sweat-drenched bodies.

Although the pump-beer is of variable quality, they have recently branched out to selling Hoegaarden, and you can always stick to bottles.

Nights worth getting down for are Wednesday (Lizzies Techno Night), Thursday (Bev's Drum & Bass Night) and Fridays for the ever-popular skanking ska show.

Despite one or two nasty incidents, which most self-respecting South-East London venues can boast of, the vibe is generally good-natured inebriated. This is no doubt helped by the ability to skin a quick one up when the staff aren't around, and the absolutely unjudgemental atmosphere of both staff and punters.

The range of artists who have performed there over the years include RDF, Geezer and Dave the Drummer, PAIN, The Innerterrestials, and many others lost in the blur of time and disintegrating short-term memory. A couple of years ago, for instance, Gil Scott Heron turned up for a drink and ended up returning to do a gig.

The stalwart soundman, Bevan Burke, is trying to organise a get-together of all the DJ's who played over the years'

By the way if you wrote this could you get in touch (email at top of site) - you had loads of good New Cross stuff on your site that I was planning to use but it's now gone.

Transpontine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Transpontine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Transpontine said...

Actually some of the material from the old fantompowa.net site now seems to be up at http://www.fantompowa.org/ - but not all of it.

In particular I was looking for some info that used to be on there about Punishment Farm Studio in Deptford where Dave the Drummer, Chris Liberator etc. recorded some great London acid techno tracks.

Can anyone tell me exactly where it was (for a future post at Transpontine) and any other information about it? I believe Bevan Burke (GMT sound man) was also sound engineer there

dino said...

I remember George carrying people out, I think it was one of the attractions we used to get people to come South of the River!

I also remember being very shocked to hear a few years ago that he'd been stabbed down at The Amersham.

Our little group used to spend a LOT of time at the GMT and all of my memories are great ones. Good times, good music and great friends.

Thanks for the blogpost, Transpontine, it has bought back plenty of memories and made me a bit nostalgic for the motherland the the mothership that was GMT.

neanderthal d said...

Firstly, there were many memorable nights spent at the Goldsmiths Tavern but i can't remember many of my nights down there due to overindulgence of one type or another. But i can guarantee that nights spent there were memorable.

Secondly, until about eight years ago, it was a fucking ace pub run by some sound people (Hi Nigel - i used to love a kip in the back room - last saw you a few years back in Bromley High St when i had sax stuck in my gob) and used (or abused) by a bewilderingly wonderful cross section of boozers, losers and substance abusers.

Thirdly, there was an article in a 'Zine called the Smoke (A London Peculiar)#7 about 5 years ago entitled "Elegy For A Pub" (http://home2.btconnect.com/smoke/PAGES/SMOKE/EXCERPTS/excerpts07-2.html). Can't find my copy of the 'zine but the article was an accurate and lovingly written description of a true South East London Gem.

The excerpt in the above link goes:

"The Tavern felt like a scuzzier version of the canteen in Star Wars. Everyone was a refusenik of some sort: students who hated students; local petty criminals who wished they ran a bookshop in the West Country; struggling artists who really should’ve been civil servants (and vice versa). And no one even pretended they were minor celebrities. The most famous regulars were the unnameable Only Fools and Horses actor who played Mickey Pearce, Joe Absalom, and someone who claimed to be the Super Furry Animals’ sound engineer, but probably wasn’t."

It was written by Rhian Jones - it was spot-on from what i can remember - and remembering things is a strong point of mine.

I was introduced to the Tavern late in '93 by Brendan (as mentioned by dino above - sadly, Brendan died around eight years ago back in Glasgow) a bright, lovely soulfull and decent rogue with a good heart (http://www.flickr.com/photos/tash/4102444797/ ) (Pic taken in Mar '94 in Trafalgar Square at the first anti Criminal Justice Bill rally that was the cover for the NRB ("No Repetitive Beats" for those too young too remember ) LP on Network records with Brendan right in the middle of the picture. I remember showing Brendan the Album cover when it came out - he was made up by that.

Back then the Tavern was run by a bloke called Slim, who, as far as i know was squatting the place. That might explain why it was a low key operation - it opened at about eight or nine pm, not many lights on outside, and you slipped in the pub by the side door on Laurie Grove. Most of the customers then were older West Indian gentlemen who liked playing Dominoes. The vibe in the Tavern then was very laid back, but it was avoided by Goldsmiths' students (in 93-95) because they thought that the place was dodgy. It suited me though as i was a(n) (im)mature student at Goldsmiths' at the time. In the Slim era time would be called at around 3 or 4 am when Slim's missus used to make an appearance and inform Slim that it was his time for bed. Reluctantly, Slim would reluctantly inform all and sundry that it was time to drink up, and we would all head off into the New Cross night (or morning).

In the summer of '94 a late night club in Deptford (Dillingers?) closed down and some of the crowd from there headed down the Tavern. The vibe got a bit moodier and you had to mind your p's a q's a bit more - i seem to remember a wee spot of bother because i trod on somebody's nice new white trainers. But the the general vibe was still OK, but there were rarely many other Goldsmiths' student to be seen there - apart from the odd exceptions.

Back then the music was old school reggae, and then some more ragga sounds in 94-95.

Around '95 the pub was taken over by another crowd with Nigel running it...damn, i would tell you more but Slim's missus has just reappeared and told us all that it is our bedtime...so off into the South East London night we must go...

neanderthal d said...

Firstly, many memorable nights spent at the Tavern but i can't remember many of my nights down there due to overindulgence of one type or another. But i can guarantee that nights spent there were memorable.

Secondly, until about eight years ago, it was an ace pub run by some sound people (Hi Nigel - i used to love a kip in the back) and used (or abused) by a bewilderingly wonderful cross section of boozers, losers and substance abusers.

Thirdly, there was an article in a 'Zine called the Smoke (A London Peculiar) #7 about 5 years ago entitled "Elegy For A Pub" (http://home2.btconnect.com/smoke/PAGES/SMOKE/EXCERPTS/excerpts07-2.html). Can't find my copy of the 'zine but the article was an accurate and lovingly written description of a true South East London Gem.

The excerpt in the above link goes:

"The Tavern felt like a scuzzier version of the canteen in Star Wars. Everyone was a refusenik of some sort: students who hated students; local petty criminals who wished they ran a bookshop in the West Country; struggling artists who really should’ve been civil servants (and vice versa). And no one even pretended they were minor celebrities. The most famous regulars were the unnameable Only Fools and Horses actor who played Mickey Pearce, Joe Absalom, and someone who claimed to be the Super Furry Animals’ sound engineer, but probably wasn’t."

It was written by Rhian Jones - it was spot-on from what i can remember - and remembering things is a strong point of mine.

I was introduced to the Tavern late in '93 by Brendan (as mentioned by dino above - sadly, Brendan died around eight years ago back in Glasgow) a bright, lovely soulfull and decent rogue with a good heart (http://www.flickr.com/photos/tash/4102444797/ ) (Pic taken in Mar '94 in Trafalgar Square at the first anti Criminal Justice Bill rally that was the cover for the NRB ("No Repetitive Beats" for those too young too remember ) LP on Network records with Brendan right in the middle of the picture. I remember showing Brendan the Album cover when it came out - he was made up by that.

Back then the Tavern was run by a bloke called Slim, who, as far as i know was squatting the place. That might explain why it was a low key operation - it opened at about eight or nine pm, not many lights on outside, and you slipped in the pub by the side door on Laurie Grove. Most of the customers then were older West Indian gentlemen who liked playing Dominoes. The vibe in the Tavern then was very laid back, but it was avoided by Goldsmiths' students (in 93-95) because they thought that the place was dodgy. It suited me though as i was a(n) (im)mature student at Goldsmiths' at the time. In the Slim era time would be called at around 3 or 4 am when Slim's missus used to make an appearance and inform Slim that it was his time for bed. Reluctantly, Slim would reluctantly inform all and sundry that it was time to drink up, and we would all head off into the New Cross night (or morning).

In the summer of '94 a late night club in Deptford (Dillingers?) closed down and some of the crowd from there headed down the Tavern. The vibe got a bit moodier and you had to mind your p's a q's a bit more - i seem to remember a wee spot of bother because i trod on somebody's nice new white trainers. But the the general vibe was still OK, but there were rarely many other Goldsmiths' student to be seen there - apart from the odd exceptions.

Back then the music was old school reggae, and then some more ragga sounds in 94-95.

Around '95 the pub was taken over by another crowd with Nigel running it...damn, i would tell you more but Slim's missus has just reappeared and told us all that it is our bedtime...so off into the South East London night we must go...

Transpontine said...

That's great Neanderthal one, fills in a gap as other people have told me about it being an African-Caribbean pub but I wasn't sure when that was.

Brendan was obviously a key face, I was on that anti-CJA demo in Trafalgar Square too.

Would like to push the history back a bit - who knows about it in the 80s or even 70s?

Anonymous said...

came to the tavern from about '97 til closing as one of the poncy art students.... i remember harvey the barman and brian [who claimed ira connections] and two lovely doormen - one who looked like a hell's angel and was the size of the door. the other was a v young lad who died of a heart attack [funeral in honor oak] - he was larger than the door.

loved the randomness of the place and the fact you had to traverse the cloud of toilet stink to move from one end of the bar to the other.

i once even filled in on keyboards for some random band from hackney.

as a woman, i felt it was the safest place in new x. certainly a lot less sketchier than the new x inn. and i racked up the highest pinball score for a spell.

I heart cupcakes said...

My husband and I used to frequent the Goldsmiths in it's heyday and I still miss the place. We bought a house in New Cross solely for the Dewdrop and the Goldsmiths and alas both are gone. We're still here though :)
I saw many bands in the back room and thanks for the lists of them -it's bringing back some memories. And of Fran dj'ing. And most of all of George. It was a very sad day when we heard he had been killed - you couldn't meet a nicer bloke to be a bouncer - no matter how late it was he was there with a hug goodbye before I staggered off to the kebab shop. He was a genuine bloke who is still remembered fondly.
Although now I'm quite happy to see a new pub coming to New Cross, I do still miss the good old days of the GMT - my husband still reminisces of the time he was at the urinal and a girl came in, faced her bum to the wall and did a wee in the urinal - I think she got a standing ovation from the blokes :)

[not the GMT] nigel said...

The Punishment Farm was above the Harp of Erin pub, which went under the name "Round the Bend" at the time before reverting to the Harp later.
You had to go up a ladder through a large loft hatch to get into the studio.
HTH

dino said...

Neanderthal, thank-you so much for that post. That zine piece totally captured the spirit of the Tavern. At the time I didn't realize that Goldsmiths students avoided the place, but looking back that totally makes sense.

Bugger me, I miss New Cross now. Washington DC has its share of dive bars, but it's really not the same.

I am truly sorry to hear that Brennan died. He was a hell of a bloke. Assuming that it's the same Brendan (and the photo certainly suggests that it is) I have the best story about him, one that I will never forget. I hope that our esteemed blogmeister lets this one pass as it really sums up the spirit of the place.

I had designed and had specially made an engagement ring for my then fiancee. Somehow, in the process of commerce presumably, we got to chatting about the ring and he seemed so knowledgeable about white gold and it's properties that I asked "Are you a jeweller, then?" To which he replied, "No dino, I'm a drug dealer".

Those were the days.

Thanks for the picture. I fully intend to steal that zine quote for my Facebook status!

Nigel said...

Hello Anonymous, I guess the biker/Hells Angles doorman must have been a chap called Gery, he was I believe the ex chairman of the Road Rats. Brenden was a lovely rogue who created so many small problems for us but I think always backed us when his crowd were more lively than they should be in a licenced premisis. I am sad to hear of his passing. Brenden had at one point a "right hand man" Vince, I would love to know what happened to him. I am not sure who the young doorman was that died of a heart attack; but would be intrested to find out not only to pass on respects but to let others know.

Nigel said...

I was told by one of the older regulars that the wrestler Mick McManus ran/owned the Goldsmiths in the 60s or 70s

Nigel said...

Heres a story before I take Slims wife's advice and go to bed.

One night at the Goldsmiths a series of events happend that could not have been staged.

To set the scene, one of our long-standing barmaids had been involved in a relationship with a new man in the Tavern and she felt he was not as committed to the relationship as she was.

One Friday night, the first day of the pub selling Hoegaarten, she turned up for her shift as normal but at around 21:00 hrs she walked in to the back of house area behind the bar and approahed Wendy and myself with the lemon knife (that was really sharp), and stabbed herself in the stomach! We called an ambulance and put her somewhere more comfortable whilst awaiting the ambulance.

A member of staff and the two of us waited with her on the second floor when suddenly our barman rushed in declaring our doorman XXXX had stolen the till!

I ended up in Greenwich Hospital until the early hours when the barmaid was found to be free of serious injury and I had a cab deliver her home and me back to the pub.

On Saturday the doorman who had stolen the till with it's contents came in to the pub and explained he had stolen the money because he had debts he needed to pay. On his way home he had seen police cars, thought we had called them and heard their sirens and decided to stash the cash in a park near his flat, Allegedly, when he returned later the cash was gone!

Monday morning and we are due for the pub owners weekly cash check and we are missing a good £500 from Fridays incident. We did not want to explain the Friday but were not able to find cash to make up the difference from the robbery.

I was on the bar and the barmaids "boyfriend" who had over the previous weeks had become a daily regular questioned me about the missing cash and asked if I would like to borrow money from him. He said he had just been released from prison following a Post Office or something simmilar robbery and had access to the cash he had originally stolen.

In desperation I took up his offer. Our cash was ok our barmaid was ok but no longer had a boy friend , our doorman paid us back the money and the Irish money lender disapeared, once I had given him back the last installment of his money...there was no intrest charged to me! This event was never mentioned again and still hve neverheard from our good samaritan

Transpontine said...

Thanks Nigel, another great tale of Wild South East.

Mick McManus was definitely from New Cross (see forthcoming Tranpsontine post later this week), haven't tracked down a connection yet between him and the pub, but sounds plausible.

Rhian Jones said...

I'm the author of the Smoke piece mentioned above, which I'd almost forgotten about! If I can dig out a copy of the whole thing, should I add it here?

Mostly, though, thank you for this post, it's very interesting to read the history of the GMT and the comments have stirred some great memories.

neanderthal d said...

Rhian Jones - please post your article here (i doubt that Neil would mind) - it was one of the most lovingly written articles about a disreputable den of strangeness and beauty that i ever read. I am still pissed of that i lost some of my copies Smoke - especially the one with the Goldsmiths Tavern Elegy.

Some memories from the Nigel era:

Soon after Nigel took over the Tavern in 94 or 95, he was looking to attract some lunchtime business from Goldsmiths' College and he laid on free sarnies at lunchtime. So i used to pop in for the odd beer or two and a sarnie or two too. One lunchtime a band were rehearsing in the back room and they were working on a bassline that sounded very familiar to me (it was an RDF/Radical Dance Faction bassline). I was amused and impressed that an old RDF bassline was being worked on in a New Cross pub and i happily bobbed my head to the sounds and remembered the good old days (i am a Reading lad for my sins and Military Surplus/RDF were very close to my heart). Then they moved on to another tune and it was another RDF bassline - i was in hmmm mode - ripping of one bassline was OK, but two? Dunno about that. Then they moved on to their third tune - another RDF bassline - fuck that, wholesale plagiarism i could not condone. So i strolled into the backroom intending to confront these rip-off bastards and give them some grief. Turns out it was Chris Bowsher putting a new RDF line up through their paces.

Moving on, one night i was in that obliterated mood that one could easily segue into in the GMT and had moved on to drinking cider and was in the dark back room and suddenly felt nauseous. Being a thoughtful type i grabbed the nearest glass and puked up cider into the glass, leaving a very authentic looking scrumpy in the said glass. I sat there a bit glassy eyed and carried on, moving the newly filled glass out of range - as one does. A wee while later a notorious minesweeper passed by and saw some rich pickings, he duly snaffled the glass of "scrumpy" and sauntered off drinking his ill gotten booty. I was paralysed with laughter and couldn't move for half an hour.

Other nights i liked to put on a bit of the old lipstick (i was a six foot three inches male with dreads and stubble then), particularly in the GMT. One evening i was introduced to lipgloss and told that it would sharpen up my look. Unfortunately, lipgloss is a real bitch when slinging pint glasses at yer gob and the glass slips leaving beer all over - but not down my throat. Ciggies go flying out of yer mouth too.

Another night - the Thursday banging Techno night - i persuaded a DJ friend with some cojones to play some "Where Love Lives" by Alison Limerick. Some folk were not impressed - a smaller number of people loved it.

Happy Daze.

Transpontine said...

Yes Rhian, would love to see that article, could put it up as a separate post if you want to email it to me.

Incidentally, it seems that the Mick McManus story might be pub folklore. No doubt as a New X face he may well have had some connection with the pub, but somebody who lived there in the 70s told the new New Cross House crew that he was never the landlord - unless anybody knows any different.

Andrew Elias said...

Here's a short film me & a couple of mates shot in 2001...the opening scene was shot in the 'lager Daleks' Tavern. This was literally days before it closed down.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3wp3UIPDDQ

Anonymous said...

Long live Lizze who allowd me to share my love of techno by playing my vinyl collection at her gizmo night back in the day. I was resident in the new cross area for 10 years or so and to this day I miss the place seems to me the GMT was the last of its kind. A kind of anything goes anyone welcome vibe and I've a lot of good memories of the place. Free music til 2am every day of the week many a good night was enjoyed there. Respect to Lizze if she is still out there somewhere :-)

Martin said...

Hadn't seen this post 'til a few days ago, but opened a truckload of memories...the royalist Diana graffiti in the toilets was courtesy of four or five skins who turned up the night before the funeral (one had a scorpion tattooed on his face) who spent most of the evening around the pool table in the back room, shooting evil glares at the regulars (guess they weren't impressed by the Diana pic on the wall with 'Fucked by Mercedes' perma-markered underneath). At one point, they started flipping 1p coins at people (some sort of coded invitation for a kicking?) and George the bouncer escorted me and a few other people through the toilet corridor, possibly to escape a few weeks of reconstructive surgery. As we went through to the other side, heard him bellow "SKINHEADS...STOP SHOUTING!" Really sad to hear he got murdered, he was a genuinely nice bloke whenever I met him. Think the last time I saw him we were chatting about his short appearance on the Channel 5 show 'The People vs Jerry Sadowitz'.

And I remember Nigel - kudos for keeping it all together, especially as everyone got progressively wasted throughout the night. Think I bored his arse off once pretending I had a Whitehouse-style band and trying to blag a gig in the back room...

Also remember Millwall Reg, who would spend all night cussing you for not supporting Millwall, then completely have forgotten about it the next time he turned up - until he'd had five pints. Last seen being thrown across a table. And Helen Throat Strangler, whose main talent was walking up to blokes and...well, figure it out. There was also a German woman with a pink mohawk who had a dog called Oi Polloi, who was generally OK but a complete nightmare when collecting glasses for last orders. I knew a posh couple through college and had a great laugh bringing them along one night - the guy in white chinos, and his girlfriend trying her best not to freak out.

Can't remember all the bands, but definitely saw UK Subs (a benefit for an anarchist in Spain who'd been injured, or something), PAIN with Howard Marks, Brain of Morbius (best of the lot), Riot/Clone, even Inner City Unit (I thought the name sounded 'punk' and wasn't aware of the Hawkwind connection...think there were about 5 of us in the audience?) Missed Conflict, but would see the members around all the time, mainly Paco...